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Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

Photo: UNHCR/Benjamin Loyseau
Ablaye Mar, an embroiderer from Sénégal, collaborates with Sabatina Leccia, a French artist and fashion designer, as part of a refugee program in France called La Fabrique Nomade. 

One of the hardest necessities facing migrants is leaving behind careers that took years to develop. That’s why a program started in France is so inspiring. La Fabrique Nomade gives one group of refugees — artisans — a chance to make a living from what they know best.

Kamilia Lahrichi and Bela Szandelszky write about the initiative for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

“Many hands are at work in Yasir Elamine’s pottery workshop in Paris. They cut, pound, squeeze, stencil and shape. Yasir, a potter from Sudan, and his French students swap ideas and aesthetics. As a refugee, he thought his life as an artist was over. The work of La Fabrique Nomade, a UNHCR-supported NGO, helped change his mind.

“La Fabrique Nomade encourages artisans among refugee and immigrant communities to retain and pass on their traditional crafts, from weaving and embroidery to pottery and woodworking.

“The group promotes their work and showcases it at design fairs. It supports the artists themselves, helping them to make connections in the art and design scene in France. It helps equip them with basic job-seeking skills such as building a portfolio and CV.

“The founder of La Fabrique Nomade, Inès Mesmar, says the goal is not just to enable refugees to use their talents but also to share valuable skills with the local community. For refugees, she says, it is about changing attitudes, ‘to allow them to transmit their knowledge, rather than being people who just receive help and assistance.’ ”

The UNHCR story is here. Check out DW for more detail, here.

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I’ve followed countertenor Terry Barber’s Artists for a Cause for several years. He lines up musicians who, like him, believe in the importance of sometimes donating their talents to a worthy cause. I heard him perform in Rhode Island (check this 2011 post).

Lately, I stared wondering whether other sorts of artists and craftsmen were doing this sort of thing. So I Googled “crafts for a cause” and discovered that someone had used those very words to name a website:

“In 1975, Hetty Friedman first traveled to the Highlands of Guatemala to learn back strap weaving from a Mayan weaver. After that time, Guatemala entered a period of intense political unrest. Thirty two years later, Hetty was able to return. In partnership with Asociación Maya de Desarrollo, a Fair Trade Weaver’s Coop, she is designing unique woven products, training weavers and leading tours. Together they produce a line of hand dyed, hand woven items that are being marketed in the USA.”

Regarding her tours: “Adventurous travelers are provided with a unique exploration of the Guatemala Highland pueblos, Antigua, a Unesco World Heritage City, and visits to various artists and fair trade jewelry and weaving co-ops. Join Hetty on an intimate tour of Guatemala’s fabulous cultural heritage. Lots of guacamole gets eaten.

“Small group travel for women. Meet Mayan artisans, visit Antigua, a Unesco Heritage site, and travel on Lake Atitlan. Great food, wonderful hotels and good company.

“Call 617-512-5344 or email hetty.friedman@gmail.com for details. Contact us to get put on the list for 2018 travel.”

From the nonprofit that Hetty is supporting, “The objective of Asociación Maya de Desarrollo is not to just provide an income for families in post-conflict communities. Asociación Maya also aims to provide an opportunity for women harmed by the war to become leaders in the cooperative, their homes, their communities, and of the Mayan tradition.”

I am filled with admiration.

More at Hetty Friedman Designs, here.

Photo: Hetty Friedman Designs
Weaver Hetty Friedman says, “It all started at age 13 when I took a weaving class at summer camp. It was like a miracle to me.”

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The original idea when the grandchildren visited my workplace was to walk to the new Boston Public Market, but it was too far and there were so many other interesting things along the way.

We will go as a family another day, but I thought I would zip over there Thursday and take some pictures. I arrived at 8 a.m. The market is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 8 to 8, and since the activity wasn’t in full swing, it was a good time to look around.

The Boston Public Market is not as big, as noisy, or as messy as the famed Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia (and there are no Amish), but it shows real promise. Although the market was fairly quiet at 8 a.m., there was already a line at MotherJuice and George Howell’s Coffee — people getting revved up for work at Government Center and environs. At a farmstand, I bought two small squashes. Fifty cents.

The Vietnamese restaurant Bon Me had a counter, and I saw local honey, fruits, vegetables, artisan cheese, and crafts. The crafts gave me pause as the market is supposed to be mainly an outlet for regional farmers, and much as I love crafts, I have seen them overwhelm another farmers market. As long as there is a good balance, it will be fine.

Note the vegetable soft toys in the children’s play area.

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Jeremiah Gallardo, a Colorado native, clicked on yesterday’s post, and I thought I’d have a look at his blog, too.

I don’t know much about Colorado. The closest I got to knowing anything at all was having a college roommate from Boulder.

Jeremiah has a nice entry today about a German Christmas market, the Denver Christkindle Market, which he took photos of. He says it runs until December 25.

“The vendors are in little wooden houses,” he writes, “that were built days before the market event.

“My first stop at the market was the hand-blown glass vendor.  I watched him make a glass icicle decoration in a few minutes, right before my eyes. I bought a green glass pickle decoration.

“Why on earth did I buy a green glass pickle? Because it’s linked to a German tradition where you hide a pickle deep inside the tree and the first child to find it gets to open an extra gift.”

You know, if I had a glass pickle, I might just try it myself.

More about the German market’s crafts and food at Jeremiah’s blog, WhiteLiger.net. You will like his pictures. And his enthusiasm.

Photo:

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The Blackstone Parks Conservancy sent out this invitation, and we went.

“We invite you to attend the family event: Build your own Fairy House! This event was originally part of the summer series of family programs given by the Blackstone Parks Conservancy. Due to its rousing success, we are offering it again as part of Playful Providence, a citywide event organized by the Partnership for Providence Parks and the Providence Parks Department. Join us at the Field on River Road, across from the Narragansett Boat Club.”

Cardboard forms that you could fold into houses were on hand. On top you could apply a layer of something like sand-colored Play-Doh, with actual sand in it. Next you could choose from a gorgeous array of seedpods, acorns, leaves, twigs, and other fruits of nature — and stick them into the “mortar” — the way a fairy would like them — before the clay dried.

Our middle grandchild was a little young for it, but he liked running around in the park and watching the rowing lessons on the Seekonk nearby.

I would like to try fairy houses again someday soon. Just collecting the pieces of nature to be used would be fun for a child.

Read about the conservancy and future events here.

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Today’s mild weather reminds me that May Day and Mother’s Day aren’t far off. Mother’s Day is a highlight of the year at Luna & Stella, Suzanne’s lovely birthstone jewelry company, for which Suzanne’s Mom blogs.

I hope you know about May Day, too. I’d like to see it revived, the ancient custom of leaving flowers at people’s doors in honor of spring. (I don’t begrudge the workers of the world their version of May Day, but they shouldn’t hog the whole thing.)

Why don’t Girl Scout troops do May Day? Why don’t florists? It mystifies me.

I still remember a May basket I made as a kid from a punch-out book. I thought it was a thing of beauty and kept asking my mother to get me another book like that. But they stopped making them.

Now I work from scratch if I have time. Last year I blogged about one kind of a homemade basket, here.

It’s always a surprise to see what flowers are available on May 1 any given year. Since these are in my yard now, I suspect there will be different ones by  May.

small rhodadendron

blue scylla

andromeda

forsythia

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Although I’m very lucky to live in a walkable community near public transportation, if everything is closed, there’s not much point going out. At least not until the sidewalk plow guy has been around once. (He really doesn’t like people in the way when he is working.)

Might as well make Valentines. This one is a work in progress.

Making Valentines

The ones in the picture below were created by Grandson the First last week as he awaited the arrival of a new sister.

In the picture after that, a Valentine Suzanne made a couple years ago is on the left, and one I made last year is on the right.

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Valentines of the Past

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The hobby shop Dabblers has a lot going on all the time — many kinds of craft classes, birthday parties, a mini restaurant with great coffee, and now something that sounds like a throwback to an earlier age. It’s an etiquette workshop for children ages 8 to 11!

I’m very curious to know how many kids (or their parents) sign up. The workshop in March is to be led by “a noted Etiquette Expert in the Boston area and will cover: introductions, dining skills, how to be a considerate friend, family member and classmate.”

(How does one get to be a noted Etiquette Expert, capitalized?)

I remember when John, and later Suzanne, went to ballroom class in middle school. The kids learned some etiquette there, but I don’t know how many details stuck. I listened in and learned you are supposed to say, “Mrs. Streitweiser, may I present Dr. Turnipseed?” but I have never been good at practicing it. I did think such classes were extinct. Good luck, Dabblers!

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I’ve been attending the annual Scandinavian Fair ever since Erik came into our lives. Although he has yet to be in town when it has taken place, it’s OK. He may not feel a need to be more Scandinavian than he already is.

The Scandinavian Fair is a real happening — “sui generis to a fault,” as the humorist S.J. Perelman might have said. Definitely the place to go if you have inadvertently run out of glögg.

Update 11/13/14: This year’s fair is Saturday, November 15, at Concord Carlisle High School, Walden Street, Concord, MA, starting at 10 a.m.

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I always like visiting the arts and crafts events on the lawn of the historical society.

Sometimes I come home and tackle my own crafts. The collage cards are generally for birthdays, anniversaries, and sympathy. If I remember, I make Xerox copies for future occasions. I’d be happy to post some readers’ photos of their art or their crafts. E-mail me your photos at suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com.

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I met my friend Mary Ann at the famous management journal where I met Asakiyume. Like Asakiyume, Mary Ann has too big a spirit for business management articles and has for the last 10 years been in a more artistic field. From soup to nuts, she edits craft books for Quarry — that is, she finds the authors and designs and edits the books all the way through page proofs. She has been instrumental in moving the field from how-to manuals for specific projects to a broader and more intriguing perspective. Her approach can be summarized as “here are some ideas about how to do a creative project; take the ball and run with it.”
        Mary Ann was in the area last week to check in at Quarry headquarters. We arranged to meet yesterday in a suitable venue — an independent book store, with a nice coffee bar and extras like muffins and Vietnamese salad rolls.
        It sure is fun to talk to artistic friends. Mary Ann gave me some great leads on websites that I have already shared with friends. Here is a fun one belonging to Massachusetts-based artist agent Lilla Rogers. Another one, Urban Sketchers, contains wonderful sketches from all over the world. (Perhaps you would like to add your own.)
        Mary Ann’s latest craft book is Playing with Books, by Jason Thompson, and it looks wonderful. Check out the book on Jason’s website, Rag and Bone.
        Mary Ann and I were happy to see that the book store we chose to meet in had some Quarry books. But later in the day I checked out a craft store in Concord (MA) and was disappointed that their books were mostly from another company.
        In spite of my disappointment about the books they carry, I love this craft store. It has a great new concept. You can work on crafts there and just dabble, just try things out, while having a nice sandwich or George Howells coffee. Because the idea is to try out the equipment and materials and find out if you want to go deeper after some dabbling, the store is called Dabblers.
        This blog is a project of birthstone jewelry company Luna & Stella. I will post comments of readers who contact me at suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com.

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